Tributes continue to pour in from across the globe as the footballing world comes to grips with news of the death of former Arsenal striker, Jose Antonio Reyes.
The Spanish footballer was declared dead after a traffic collision that ended tragic yesterday at the age of 35.
The sad incident was confirmed by his current club, Sevilla, which tweeted on Saturday: “We could not offer worse news. Our beloved squad member José Antonio Reyes died in a traffic accident. Rest in peace.”
Known for his time at Arsenal and Spanish giants, Real Madrid, the Spaniard joined the Gunners from the La Liga side in January 2004 and was part of the ‘Invincibles’ side that went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten as they landed the Premier League in style.
He later spent a season on loan at Real Madrid in 2006-07, winning La Liga having scored the title-winning goal in a match in which he replaced the injured David Beckham.
Reyes leaves behind his beloved wife, Noelia Lopez and three children, daughters, Noelia and Triana as well as son, Jose Antonio Jr from a previous relationship.
He married Noelia, who has a tattoo of the couple kissing, on her body in a private event back in June 2017.
“I am devastated by this sad news, Reyes was a gentleman. May his soul rest in peace. @arsenal #arsenal #coyg #premierleague #spain #london #rip,” his Nigerian former Arsenal teammate, Kanu Nwankwo, wrote in a Twitter post.
On his own, Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, described Reyes as a “wonderful player, superb team-mate and exceptional human being,” adding: “I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time. #takenfartoosoon” in a tweet.
According to former Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, Reyes was his “first great friend in the world of professional football” and “My room-mate, who always wanted to sleep with the air conditioning even at -10 degrees.”
“A humble guy who always had a smile on his face, great footballer and great person. I could not wake up today in a worse way.
“I will never forget when you and your family welcomed me at your home in my first Christmas in England when I was alone and was 16 years old. I will never forget our tennis football matches in the gym before and after workouts.
“Our connection in the field was also special.
“I always say that you have been one of the greatest talents in our football and I know that I am not wrong,” Fabregas added in parts.
“Numbed by the news about my former team-mate, Jose Antonio Reyes. Gone far too soon, my thoughts are with his family and friends,” was how another former team-mate, Freddie Ljungberg, put it.
Manchester City star and former Atletico Madrid team-mate, Sergio Aguero wrote: “Moved by the death of José Antonio Reyes, a very good friend, and partner with whom I shared great moments. A lot of pain. My condolences and all my support to your relatives” as current Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, who coached Reyes at Sevilla, also shared a poignant tribute: “Deeply sad and speechless after knowing this tragic news. I’ll never forget your magic and your smile, Jose, never. It was an honour to be by your side… A strong hug and all the spirit of the world to family, friends, and clubs to which he represented. RIP Friend.”
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